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tv   Nightline  ABC  December 26, 2012 11:35pm-12:00am PST

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of the first lady. >> do they give each other presents? from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden, and bill weir in new york city, this is "nightline," december 26th, 2012. good evening, i'm terry moran. for a holiday, this has been a busy time in washington. as the negotiations surrounding that looming fiscal cliff come to a fever pitch just before the new year. but this is also a time of tradition and celebration in the nation's capital, and nobody decks the halls like the team at the white house for christmas. christmas is there, has come to mean a special visit every year, not just from santa claus, but from abc's own barbara walters. barbara? >> terry, in what has become one of my favorite holiday traditions for the fourth year, i had the privilege of interviewing the president and mrs. obama at the white house. this interview was taped days
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before the tragic shooting in connecticut and was postponed until now. it was the first time the couple sat down together since winning re-election. mrs. obama also took me on a personal tour of what is called the people's house. and it's never more true than during the christmas season. after thanksgiving, more than 80 volunteers from nearly 40 states descend on the white house, trimming 54 trees, plus every nook and cranny. first dog bo is the star of the show. there he is inspecting the decorations, including this larger than life model of himself, made of 20,000 pompoms. my friend. >> yes, bo. he's really big in relation to this house. >> this 300-pound ginger bread white house was the first stop on my exclusive behind-the-scenes tour with first lady michelle obama. these are various rooms in the
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actual white house. >> absolutely. and the details in these rooms are just beyond this year. >> why peer into these windows when i can see the real thing? >> come on, bo. >> does he follow you around all day? next stop, the red room. filled with cranberries and fruit trees. >> for christmas alone, we'll have more than 90,000 people come through these doors. >> how many hands do you shake at christmas? >> oh, thousands. >> show me how you do it. >> you know me. >> but you can't do that with everyone. >> in the center of the white house, the blue room with the official white house tree. >> this is the joining forces tree. it's the main tree here. the biggest tree. >> how beautiful. >> and the special thing about this tree, barbara, is that the ornaments are handmade messages from military kids who live in bases all around the world.
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this one says "love you, dad, safe travels." so when visitors come, they can read these messages and, you know, just remember what these children are sacrificing during this time. this is one of my favorite trees! look how big the tree is! >> earlier, the first lady invited some military families to see the unveiling of ornaments and to make some holiday sweets. >> did you guys taste these? this is good. >> they had kids, they were decorating cookies, and they were so focused until i brought in bo. they were more excited to see bo than they are to see me or the president. >> in fact, bo is the only one on the white house christmas card this year. and his paw print is alongside the first family's signatures. what is bo getting for christmas? >> oh, bo. well, since he's right there, let's talk quietly so he doesn't know. i think he's going to get a couple of more plush toys.
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but don't tell anybody. >> i won't say a word. but there would be no such restrictions when i sat down with the president and mrs. obama for their first joint interview since the election. after a decisive victory, they were riding a new wave of popularity. the campaign seemed to have brought them even closer together. >> mr. president, mrs. obama, there is a photograph of you that went viral, became the most shared photograph in the history of twitter. here it is. >> that's a great picture. >> when you look at this picture, what do you think? at what point was it taken? >> i think we were campaigning in iowa. >> why were you hugging so hard in iowa? >> because i love my wife. >> well, and also, i hadn't seen him in a while. when you're campaigning, they have two ships passing in the night. and the first time i saw him was when i walked onstage to greet him. and that's my honey giving me a hug. >> i like giving you hugs. >> how do you keep the fire going? >> that's a good question.
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>> you know, we've been married now 20 years. >> uh-huh. >> and like every marriage, you have your ups and your downs. but if you work through the tough times, the respect and love that you feel deepens. >> and then there's a lot of laughter. >> and you're funnier. >> for the most part. >> everybody thinks she's pretty funny. i'm funnier than people think. >> that may be. you may be funnier than people think. when the election was so close, everybody was saying it's so close, did you have a moment in which you said we may lose the election? and then where do we live? do we stay on in washington? what do we do about the girls' schools? did you have to ponder any of that? >> the girls definitely asked the question. what happens if dad loses? and the thing that we just tried to instill in them is that, you know what? we were fine before we were here and we're going to be fine no matter what happens. >> i want to talk about the
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girls. we have been watching them grow up from little girls to young ladies. now, malia recently got her first cell phone. do you want to see who she calls and who she texts? >> i give my daughter at this age -- i give her a long rope. and there is monitoring because we have rules. but monitoring may be -- you never know when i'm going to walk in your room and i'm going to definitely ask you, who are you talking to and are you talking about school work? >> and they're not very good at lying. we joke sometimes about how malia's getting to the age now, boys start calling and i always talk about how one of the main incentives for running again was continuing secret service protection to have more guns around. >> boys can call the white house and say may i speak to malia? >> well, that's part of the challenge with cell phones these days. because it used to be --
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>> pick up your phone and call, mr. obama, it's x, may i speak to your daughter. those days are gone. >> will you let malia date yet? >> she's a teenager and she's going to start at some point. being interested. >> our goal has been to try to make sure that their lives here are as normal as they can be. >> whatever they could do in chicago, they should be able to do here. and when we come back -- what keeps you up at night? excuse me, sir i'm gonna have to ask you to power down your little word game. i think your friends will understand. oh no, it's actually my geico app...see? ...i just uh paid my bill. did you really? from the plane? yeah, i can manage my policy, get roadside assistance, pretty much access geico 24/7. sounds a little too good to be true sir. i'll believe that when pigs fly. ok, did she seriously just say that? geico. just click away with our free mobile app.
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visions of sugar plums may be dancing in heads of children across the country, but with the weight of the world on their shoulders, what issues keep the president of the united states
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up at night? we'll return now to the white house christmas, where abc's barbara walters continues her very personal interview at home with the first couple. >> so much goes on in both of your lives. what keeps you up at night if there are times? >> stuff keeps me up at night all the time. but the one good thing is i generally work hard enough during the day. by the time my head hits the pillow, most of the time i fall right to sleep. there are certain moments the night before the bin laden raid. there are going to be certain moments where you're amped up. but for the most part, i don't have trouble sleeping. i have trouble waking up sometimes. >> you know, mrs. obama, you told me at one point that you would never run for political office. you've said that you don't have the patience for political life. patience for what? >> i have learned from my
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husband watching him that it does require a great deal of patience to really feel the full impact of the work that you do on the ground. it doesn't happen right away. >> and she has a bigger difficulty biting her tongue. >> i think i've done pretty well at that. >> not bad. >> was there a time when you went shh? >> are you kidding? we've been married for 20 years, you think i'm going to go shh to my wife? >> yeah, i've never heard shh come out of his mouth. >> yeah. but the point is privately, there may be -- >> i have opinions. >> she's got a few. >> you know a little something about views. >> yes. something about views. yes, i do. you have an ipad. >> i do. >> what's your favorite app? >> scrabble. >> oh, yes. gosh. sometimes i want to yank that out of your hands. >> do you ever play scrabble
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together? >> no, no. well, we do on the board, not on the ipad. >> who wins? >> he's good at scrabble. she's very irrita-- he's very i researcher she doesn't like losing. >> i don't like losing to you because you're irritating when you win. >> what is your favorite presidential perk? >> well -- >> the plane? >> yeah. i mean, look, it has been a while since i flew commercial. but i remember it because i used to have to commute every week from d.c. to chicago. and not having to take off your shoes before you get on a plane is probably a pretty good luxury. and obviously you're never late for flights because generally the plane doesn't take off without you. >> generally. me, on the other hand, i could get left. they're not leaving him. >> finally, i asked the president and first lady a
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question that i've asked during each of our special holiday interviews about their high points and low points. again, all of this before the president ordered the flags flown at half staff after the connecticut shooting. you know, you've talked about sitting with the girls at night and talk about the rose and the thorn. can you think of what the rose was and what the thorn was? for me personally, the thorn is always knowing that as commander in chief, i've put men and women of armed services in harm's way, and some of them we had killed and some of them get injured. and that always weighs on me. that is as raw and as fresh now as it was the first month i took office. the rose for me, other than
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family, was being back on the campaign trail and having this incredible opportunity to reconnect with the american people. in some ways, the election was sort of the icing on the cake. >> a lot of icing. >> yeah. >> big cake. >> big cake. just ahead, meet the special class of first graders chosen to ask their christmas questions to the first lady. why's everybody in such a hurry? because it's the final 100 hours of the ford year end celebration. last chance to get the best deals of the year on america's freshest lineup.
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as far as christmas trees go, it's pretty hard to beat the 19-footer that took front and center at the white house this year, and a group of first graders with a special connection to that tree got an inside scoop on the first family's christmas. once again, here's abc's barbara walters. >> when first lady michelle obama, her daughters, and bo welcomed the official white house christmas tree, they didn't notice tag that said blue ridge elementary school, but we did. and as a dozen parks department workers wrestled the 19-foot frazier fir into the white house, raising its to its place of honor in the blue room, we
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tracked it to its roots at this tree farm in jefferson, north carolina. >> it's bunches and bunches and bunches of trees. >> meet the first grade class that visited the farm and put the tag on the tree destined for the white house. >> i would be so excited to go to washington, d.c. and see the white house. >> we couldn't take them to the white house, but we could take their questions. we asked some elementary school children in north carolina if they had some questions. >> yes. >> and they did. >> do they give each other presents? >> absolutely, we exchange presents. but presents are not the highlight of christmas for us. the kids get -- they get to ask santa for a couple of things, but we often -- we spend our christmas every year in hawaii, which is a big trip. >> that's santa claus in a bathing suit. >> santa claus with a lei, a hawaiian lei and some shorts. >> how do you live in the white house? >> there's so many great things.
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there is a movie theater here. there's a bowling alley. i think one of the best things is we share the house that's like a museum. that's the really cool part. >> i want to ask mrs. obama what do you do for work. >> that's an often asked question. i explain to them that first of all i'm married to the president, so one of my key responsibilities is to support him in any way that i can. then i'll tell them about my initiatives that i'm working on, trying to end childhood obesity and generation, and talk to them about the work i do with military families. >> i wonder if santa claus comes to the white house. >> well, you know, there are over 50 fireplaces in the white house. >> so he has a choice. >> he's got plenty of options. we've got 12 chimneys. santa is a very resourceful individual. i think he can find a way in here one way or another. i think he has a pretty good
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relationship with the secret service, so they give him a pass. >> happy holidays. >> happy holidays, barbara. thank you, as always. >> thank you. it was time to go, but as a matter of protocol, we wanted to give the last word to the president. >> thank you, barbara. merry christmas. merry christmas, everybody. >> in this season of giving, mrs. obama is asking visitors of the white house and everyone watching to sign up for what she calls operation honor card. this is a volunteer project where you pledge a specific number of hours and then fill them with anything from mentoring your child to making a meal for a neighbor. it's all part of joining forces, which is the first lady's initiative to support military families. terry? >> thanks, barbara, once again this year. thank you for watching abc news. hope you check in with "good morning america," they'll have the latest on the snow and the severe weather. we'll always online at
11:59 pm jimmy kimmel is next and we'll see you here tomorrow. up next on "jimmy kimmel live" -- >> i think this is the best time of the year to get into a knife fight over a parking spot at target. >> dicky:s rel >> dicky: leslie mamn. >> i think you might have the plague. >> are there any plans to make "ted 2"? >> yes, we're basically going to


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